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Torn meniscus - Glucosamine?
Posted by: timg
Date: January 20, 2010 02:48PM
Anyone had a torn meniscus and treated it with glucosamine?

I discovered last week that I apparently have had a torn meniscus for a while and somehow aggravated it. Knee swelled up, serious pain, limited range of motion ...

After several days of ibuprofen, the swelling is gone and I can move.
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Re: Torn meniscus - Glucosamine?
Posted by: pdq
Date: January 20, 2010 03:02PM
Naw.

Glucosamine is for degenerative joint disease- the arthritis we all get as we get older. That involves a slow loss of cartilage through long years of wear (and other factors). Glucosamine, being a component of cartilage, is supposed to help the body rebuild cartilage, or at least not lose it. I say "supposed to", since there's some question, in carefully controlled trials, that it does any better than placebo.

But in any case, you have a tear, and your body is not going to grow that tear back together with glucosamine. It's like ... a road, on a bridge, with glucosamine as asphalt. You can put a new coat of asphalt on the road and make an old, rough road smoother. But in your case, the bridge broke, and the road tore apart, and putting on asphalt is not going to glue it back together. If it's bad enough, you need surgical repair.

All that said, there's no harm in trying glucosamine- if your knee is just sore (not locking up), you might get some symptomatic relief.
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Re: Torn meniscus - Glucosamine?
Posted by: davester
Date: January 20, 2010 04:58PM
I've been struggling with this issue. I tried glucosamine/chondroiton combo for a while and I'm not sure there was any difference. The NIH recently completed a huge controlled study on this. Here are the results: [nccam.nih.gov]

I was thinking about having arthroscopic surgery for a while, and it is still on the table. However, everything I've read has indicated that physical therapy and drugs (steroids, nsaids, glucosamine/chondroitin, etc) generally have much better results than surgery and that in many cases placebo surgery does better than real surgery.




"In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion." (1987) -- Carl Sagan
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Re: Torn meniscus - Glucosamine?
Posted by: btfc
Date: January 20, 2010 05:03PM
Omega-3/Fish oil can also be beneficial for joints.
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Re: Torn meniscus - Glucosamine?
Posted by: Racer X
Date: January 20, 2010 05:44PM
I load up on Glucosamin/Chondroitan and fish oil for my deteriorating hip joint. It was slightly defective from birth, with the wear surfaces not mating up perfectly. Right now I have worn through the cartilege in several spots, and am bone on bone in several grooves/ridges.

Anyway. For the fish oil to work, you need between 3 and 5 GRAMS of combined EPA and DHA Omega 3 fatty acids. Not grams of oil, grams of Omega 3. This can be between 5 and fifteen capsules a day, depending on what you take. The best price I have found is the massive bottles of Nature's Made from Costco. They contain 712 mg combined per, so you can take 5 a day. I take 6 FWIW. On sale maybe 2-3 times a year for $4 or $5 off, so I stock up. The cheap stuff is NOT cheaper when you find out how many you need to take to get the 3 grams of EPA/DHA.

Most fish oil is mollecularly filtered, so they don't contain any mercury. Far safer than eating the fish it comes from.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/20/2010 05:45PM by Racer X.
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Re: Torn meniscus - Glucosamine?
Posted by: davester
Date: January 20, 2010 05:57PM
Is there any controlled testing that shows that fish oil works, or is it the usual vitamin supplement hearsay?




"In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion." (1987) -- Carl Sagan
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Re: Torn meniscus - Glucosamine?
Posted by: timg
Date: January 20, 2010 06:35PM
I hadn't heard of the fish oil for joints either.

Guess I can ask the doctor when I go back for a check tomorrow.

My knee is still popping and clicking on occasion, so it might need some actual repair. Doctor said depending on how the knee felt tomorrow, he might send me for an MRI.
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Re: Torn meniscus - Glucosamine?
Posted by: Racer X
Date: January 20, 2010 06:45PM
Omega-3 reduces inflammation. That is where the pain comes from. I am bone on bone, yet most of the time, my hip doesn't hurt. A prescription NSAID, and Omega-3 for the inflammation, G/C for what is left of the cartilege, and Calcium/Vitamin D to keep bone density up.
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Re: Torn meniscus - Glucosamine?
Posted by: davester
Date: January 21, 2010 12:03AM
Is there any blind testing results that show that eating those things actually produces the result that you indicated? For example, it is known that antioxidants behave in certain beneficial ways in the body, but delivering them by ingesting them has in many cases been shown not to work. I view any health claim for ingested supplements with a jaundiced eye until some actual data are presented.




"In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion." (1987) -- Carl Sagan
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Re: Torn meniscus - Glucosamine?
Posted by: dk62
Date: January 21, 2010 06:24AM
I can tell you from personal experience that arthroscopic surgery is extremely effective, but may not last forever. I had many severe multi-day knee lockups in my 20s, and when I finally decided to have surgery done they went away. After 20 years, I am now starting to get the similar uncomfortable feeling in some leg positions, but have not experienced a lockup (yet?).

As pdq said, the supplements may work for degenerative disease, but for severe meniscus tear, surgery works great. For milder cases, conservative measures may work.
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